Yet Another Sign Gaia’s Not Amused

A 5.0 earthquake…in Ottawa

The June 23, 2010 Ontario-Quebec border region earthquake occurred at 1:42 pm local (eastern) time about 60 km (38 miles) north of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada’s capital city. The preliminary estimate of magnitude (M) is 5.0, at a depth of roughly 19 km (12 miles). These estimates may change as more data becomes available.

This earthquake occurred near the southern edge of the Western Quebec Seismic Zone. Earthquakes within this zone are mostly small. They tend to cluster in a wide area that is slightly elongated northwest-southeast. Historically, earthquakes in the Western Quebec Seismic Zone have caused damage roughly once a decade. Three or four smaller events each year are felt in the region but are generally too small to cause damage.

Send in the locusts!

11 Responses to “Yet Another Sign Gaia’s Not Amused”

  1. Yojimbo says:

    Isn’t Canada hosting the G-20 this weekend? Enough said.

    I was born and raised in Los Angeles. We toss those five flats back. I couldn’t believe the almost hysteria up there over this.

  2. Gary from Jersey says:

    Yojimbo, the Ramapo Fault runs from North Jersey through Manhattan. We don’t have quake-resistant building codes like California so even a small temblor could do immense damage.

    The fault, if you listen to cable TV fearmongers, is ready to erupt any second now, leaving a gash that could kill thousands of people. Many would be children. I know because I think about them.

    I’ll blame Bush.

  3. nightfly says:

    I thought the only fault that ran from North Jersey to Manhattan was the Bergen County Democratic Committee.

  4. Gary from Jersey says:

    Good point, nightfly. I thought it was the other way around after watching all those Sorpranos episodes.

  5. JeffS says:

    Smaller earthquakes are more dangerous along the eastern seaboard for another (although related) reason, Gary. The tectonic plates in the west tend to be fractured (i.e., lots of fault lines), thanks to the higher quake activity. So quake energy isn’t passed along all that efficiently; a 5.0 simply doesn’t go that far. Besides, as Yojimbo correctly notes, the locals are used to them; on a personal level, without worrying about falling debris, a 5.0 quake ain’t all that much.

    The eastern seaboard, since it is quiet quake wise, is not so fractured (i.e., fewer fault lines). Hence, quake energy is transmitted more efficiently. So a small quake in Ottawa has more damage potential than an equal quake in California, as less energy is lost during transmission.

    Add in the different building codes, and a 5.0 is a serious event for Ottaw. I’d hate to see a 6.0 there.

  6. jw says:

    Felt it here in Syracuse for about 20 seconds. It was actually pretty, well, amazing.
    I had never felt one.

  7. BillN says:

    If the rock in North NJ starts movin’ too much ya’ll can come down here to SJ and hang out. But ya gotta become Phillies fans if ya do.

  8. Mr. Bingley says:

    Gary, the best part about the Ramapo fault is that it runs under the Indian Point nuke plant.

    Nothing to see here folks, move along…

  9. Mr. Bingley says:

    Bill, what about if I buy us lunch at Geno’s?

  10. Mr. Bingley says:

    jw, I can tell you even a 5.0 would be just nasty in Manhattan; there just ain’t no give in any of those buildings.

  11. Yojimbo says:

    Well get ready for a series of fivers there in Manhattan, Bingster. I think they call it finreg. Couple that with the fact that the bill will leave much of the “mandates” to be interpreted by Obama people and you have rolling thunder right there in river city.

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